Back

Harm Edens

Read speaker's summary
01. About Harm

“I know quite a lot so I can counter fallacies and greenwashing. Humor allows me to get away with it, and my age helps too.”

Knowledge, humor and age; according to Harm, the prerequisites for being able to kick against sacred cows and keep pushing the boundaries

Harm Edens was 11 years old when he read the publication “The Limits to Growth” by the Club of Rome. He did not fully understand the content at the time, but this and other far-reaching world events made him understand that something was fundamentally wrong in the world.

First there were the images of the war and famine in Biafra and the bombing in Vietnam – there goes my Christian worldview. Then the Club of Rome brought climate change to light; the biggest thing we have ever had on our hands as humanity.

Meanwhile, we are 3 alarming IPCC reports and the recent WWF Living Planet Report down the road. You could get depressed. Harm also regularly sees this despair in the eyes of mainly young people, who, like him, understand that the world must change, but also see that this is not happening fast enough to turn the tide.

Fortunately, he is blessed with an enormous reservoir of energy, because action – ‘doing something’ – is the best medicine for gloom.

Harm Edens is of course known to the general public as the host of the satirical news program ‘Dit Was Het Nieuws’, language quiz ’10 voor Taal’ and the ‘Vierdaagse Journaal’. But that is only the tip of the (melting) iceberg. Harm has been committed to nature conservation and sustainability for nearly 30 years. Among others, as ambassador of the World Wildlife Fund and electric aviation, as presenter of De Grote Klimaatkwis and as host of the BNR Nieuwsradio program ‘Duurzaam’. In his private life, too, he lives as sustainably as possible, eats seasonal products and – despite his great love for art city New York – has even given up flying.

But what Harm Edens really wants to get the world moving with, are the presentations he gives. To people who have something to say, in politics or business. Because when those in power start to see and take responsibility, then something happens on a larger scale.

Knowledge, humor and age; according to Harm, the prerequisites for being able to kick against sacred cows and keep pushing the boundaries Harm Edens was 11 years old when he read the publication “The Limits to Growth” by the Club of Rome. He did not fully understand the content at the time, but this and other far-reaching world events made him understand that something was fundamentally View moreā€¦

02. Purpose

"We live at the expense of the future for 5 months every year."

"If you don't make life worth living for yourself, it's not going to be anything!"

Harm Edens

Rumbling in the margins

Once Harm saw Princess Irene speaking in front of a group of people about sustainability. An 88-year-old man in the audience exclaimed, “I’m doing it all for my grandchildren“. Irene – then also in her 80s – replied somewhat piqued “if you don’t think life is worth doing it for yourself, then it won’t be anything!

That’s the way I see it. If you only do it for your children or grandchildren, you don’t really feel it. You also have to want it for yourself, for nature, for everything on earth.

And it’s desperately needed too. Ecosystems are on the verge of collapse, deforestation, freshwater and resource shortages, plastic soup. Or in Harm’s words, “It’s drama! The Earth Overshoot Day is at the end of July, which means 5 months of living at the expense of the future, every year.” His lectures are a plea to stop messing around on the margins, and get two feet in the new economy.

Companies need to stop lying to us, young people need to demand a better future from those currently in power, and we need to dream and act bigger and more radically.

People’s ignorance bothers him less than big bosses acting like they are from yesterday, when these issues have been known for half a century. “In 1999, I went to Spitsbergen for the World Wildlife Fund. Seeing those melting ice caps for myself, that hit me. After that, I felt like a voice crying in the wilderness for 15 years. When I started talking about it you’d see people shuffling uncomfortably and thinking ‘hey, you were the funny guy, right?’

That has since changed; at least everyone now knows that something needs to be done. Even Harm is now putting a lot of weight on the table. A raised eyebrow and a “are you sure?” are enough to show that woolly language and abstract answers won’t get you anywhere with him.

Why is he able to hit the nail on the head in a room full of CEOs or political leaders?

Three things: knowledge, humor and age. I know quite a lot and thus I can counter fallacies and greenwashing, humor and sharpness let me get away with it and my age also helps.

Book Harm Edens for your event

Would you like to book Harm Edens as a speaker for your event? Ask for the possibilities and his availability.

03. USPs

Why should you invite Harm as a speaker for your event?

1. Knowledge

If you think Harm will come and give a funny talk or have a pleasant chat; unfortunately, you will be disappointed. Harm has been intensively involved with the topic of sustainability for almost 30 years. He has no shortage of knowledge and his sharp, critical opinion is no secret.

2. Humor

Harm counterbalances the heaviness of the climate crisis topic with of course; humor. ‘Laughter is an outlet for emotion and also provides the necessary relaxation’. Harm knows the laws of comedy like no other. He uses them to address what’s important and leave an indelible impression.

3. Energy

Producer, writer, screenwriter, columnist, moderator and speaker. He calls himself a ‘professional show host’, and if you have attended one of Harm’s shows or performances, you will understand that this actually covers the load. Because of Harm’s boundless energy, enthusiasm and alertness, it is never boring.

4. Prefers a "difficult" audience

As Harm says, “you shouldn’t put me in front of a room of ‘dark greens’ who think everything I say is fantastic.” As much as that strokes the ego, he prefers to seek the resistance, because that’s where he can make the big difference.

  • 1. Knowledge

  • 2. Humor

  • 3. Energy

  • 4. Prefers a "difficult" audience

04. For Good Interview

Four questions for:
Harm Edens

Harm Edens

For Good: what does that mean to you?

“All of the above, but I want to add to that. I have a very wise partner who teaches me that you have to be respectful to people. If someone does something that I don’t like, another person may not see it that way. Or maybe they are just doing what they can.

Good for me is also related to love, for the environment and the planet. Let’s stop pretending that humans are in charge of this world and live more in harmony with nature.”

Walk the Talk: what is your added value?

“I am most valuable when I can reach those who determine the ins and outs of politics and business. If only they would all do better. For example, a while ago I had a room with just about all the CEOs from the petrochemical sector in it. Then the problem suddenly became very concrete; the hotshots from that polluting industry, all in a row.

But recently I also spoke in front of a room full of gardeners. Mainly young guys who spend all day outside working with their hands. Put them on a chair for a whole day in the theater of Amersfoort. I was skeptical at first, but we put a lot of energy, humor and good speakers into the program. It covered topics like soil improvement, native plants, biodiversity. There were guys standing in front of me afterwards with shining eyes saying, ‘we didn’t know we were so important’. In short, a day ‘well spent’.”

Who is your greatest role model or inspiration?

“Jan Rotmans, author of the book ‘Embrace the Chaos.’ He wrote, ‘we are not living in an era of change, it is a change of an era.'”

What do you love and what is typically Harm?

“There are three things. The first is togetherness, commitments with friends and loved ones. Then you feel why you are all walking around the earth together.

The second is nature. And that can be very grand and impressive, like the herds of elephants I once saw in the Masai Mara in Kenya. But I can also find that feeling in smaller things. Near my house watching the chestnut buds break open – literally in front of you – in the sun.

The third is art. I can really lose myself in that; looking at Rembrandts, a Klimt exhibition, or music. I was recently at a Norwegian soloist ensemble in Amsterdam. 16 top voices singing German romanticism and Norwegian funeral music intermingled. So beautiful, there was a collective emotional experience, 800 people in a vacuum. You go home with such a feeling of; wow, something very special happened here and I was there.

I hope that something collective like this can also arise in the area of climate issues, that everyone starts to feel it and dares to share their fears.”

  • For Good: what does that mean to you?

  • Walk the Talk: what is your added value?

  • Who is your greatest role model or inspiration?

  • What do you love and what is typically Harm?

05. Media

Need advice or more information?

Your event is very important, as well as finding the right speaker or moderator. We think along with you and like to exceed your expectations.

Get in touch